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Incision and drainage, bursa, foot

CPT4 code

Incision and Drainage, Bursa, Foot

Name of the Procedure:

  • Common Name(s): Incision and drainage of foot bursa
  • Technical/Medical Term(s): Bursectomy with incision and drainage


The incision and drainage, bursa, foot procedure involves making a small cut in the foot to drain fluid from an inflamed bursa. This helps to reduce pain and swelling caused by the fluid buildup.


  • Medical Condition: Bursitis or infected bursae in the foot.
  • Goals: To alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent further infection or complications from the swollen bursa.


  • Persistent pain and swelling in the foot.
  • Presence of an infected or inflamed bursa.
  • Failure of conservative treatments like rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), or oral medications.


  • Pre-Procedural Instructions: Often includes fasting for a few hours if general anesthesia is used. Adjustments to medications as advised by the doctor (e.g., blood thinners).
  • Diagnostic Tests: Possible prior imaging (e.g., ultrasound, MRI) to assess the extent of bursal inflammation. Blood tests if infection is suspected.

Procedure Description

  1. The patient is brought into a sterile environment, often a minor procedure room.
  2. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area; sometimes, sedation may be used.
  3. The surgeon makes a small incision over the affected bursa.
  4. Fluid is allowed to drain from the bursa.
  5. The area may be flushed with saline to clear any debris.
  6. The incision may be left open to allow further drainage or closed with sutures, depending on the case.
  7. A sterile bandage is applied.
  • Tools/Equipment: Scalpel, saline solution, sutures, bandages.
  • Anesthesia: Local anesthesia, sometimes with mild sedation.


The procedure typically takes around 15-30 minutes.


Commonly performed in an outpatient setting such as a hospital's minor surgery suite or surgical center.


  • Surgeon or Podiatric specialist.
  • Nursing staff.
  • Anesthesiologist (if sedation is used).

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Local infection, bleeding, pain at the incision site.
  • Rare Risks: Nerve damage, excessive bleeding, delayed wound healing, allergic reactions to anesthesia.
  • Management: Antibiotics for infection, pain medication, and wound care instructions.


  • Expected Benefits: Reduction in pain and swelling. Quick return to normal activities.
  • Timeframe: Benefits are usually realized within a few days to weeks post-procedure.


  • Post-Procedure Care: Keeping the area clean and dry, changing bandages as instructed.
  • Expected Recovery Time: 1-2 weeks typically.
  • Restrictions: Limited weight-bearing activities for a few days, avoiding prolonged standing.
  • Follow-up: Usually within a week to check on healing.


  • Other Treatments: Conservative treatments like physiotherapy, oral anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid injections.
  • Pros and Cons: Non-surgical options are less invasive but might not be effective in chronic or severe cases. Surgical options provide quick relief but come with surgical risks.

Patient Experience

  • During the Procedure: Minimal discomfort due to local anesthesia. Slight pressure may be felt.
  • After the Procedure: Mild to moderate pain and discomfort, manageable with pain medications. Swelling and bruising are expected.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed pain medication. Comfort measures include ice packs and elevation of the foot.

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